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More bang, less bucks: Meet the five new cut-price performance cars coming to Australia in 2020

Australia is in line for some serious performance at seriously good prices.

Australia stands on the cusp of a cut-price sports car revolution, with the Toyota Yaris GR, Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR, Ford Focus ST, Mazda MX-5 and the Ford Fiesta ST all set to compete for your performance car dollars from as early as January next year.

Yep, if you like lots of bang for your not much bucks, things are about to get very exciting indeed, with a deluge of affordable rockets prepping for an Australian launch. So with the go-fast floodgates about to open, we thought we’d walk you through what’s coming, when its coming, and how much you’ll have to pay for your thrills when it does, though all will arrive at a very enticing sub-$50k.

Toyota Yaris GR

The Yaris GR will make use of a turbocharged three-cylinder engine and AWD. The Yaris GR will make use of a turbocharged three-cylinder engine and AWD.

The first cab of the go-fast rank will be the Yaris GR - not just Toyota’s first proper toe-dip into hot hatch waters for some time in Australia, but the canary down the coal mine for the brand’s range-wide performance revolution.

The Yaris GR was supposed to be revealed in November at a rally event in Coffs Harbour, but bushfires in that area forced the cancellation of the grand unveiling, with the micro mean-machine now set for a Japan reveal early next year.

But details have begun to emerge about just what we’re in store for, with fresh reports claiming the Yaris GR will make use of a turbocharged three-cylinder engine and AWD. Exactly how much power it will produce isn’t yet known, though the micro hot hatch segment has some standards that will need to be met. It stands to reason, then, that the Yaris GR will produce around 150kW and 300Nm, otherwise it will struggle to keep up with the hot hatch pack.

Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR

The most powerful version of the Golf GTI ever. The most powerful version of the Golf GTI ever.

The brawniest, baddest GTI to have ever prowled the road will touch down in Australia around the middle of next year, with the pulse-quickening TCR model packing almost enough grunt to take the fight to even the all-paw Golf R.

The most powerful production GTI ever, the TCR is home to a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine good for 213kW of power and 400Nm of torque, funnelled through the front tyres via a seven-speed DSG automatic

That will form a key differentiator between it and hot hatch newcomer, the Hyundai i30 N, which is still only available with a manual transmission, with that brand's promised TCT gearbox yet to appear.

Pricing remains a mystery for now, though we do know it will sit between the regular GTI and the all-paw Golf R, which means it will sit in a $46,190 - $54,990 window, before on road costs.

Ford Focus ST

The Focus ST is yours for $44,690, regardless of the transmission you opt for. The Focus ST is yours for $44,690, regardless of the transmission you opt for.

It feels like we've been expecting a new Ford Focus ST forever, but the wait is at last almost over, with the Blue Oval's screaming hot hatch due to touch down in January (or close to it). 

When it does arrive, expect a hard-charging 2.3-litre turbo engine good for an impressive 206kW and 420Nm. Which is lots. 

That power is fed through a six-speed manual (for the purists) or a seven-speed automatic, the latter able to be optioned at no extra cost, and then funnelled on to the tortured front tyres. 

The cost for all this burbling fun? The Focus ST is yours for $44,690, regardless of the transmission you opt for. 

Ford Fiesta ST

Expect the ST to arrive in early 2020. Expect the ST to arrive in early 2020.

Not just bigger - having shifted from a three-door to a five-door body style - the Fiesta ST will be badder, too, with more power, better spec, and, less happily, a $4500 bigger price tag. 

Expect the ST to arrive in early 2020, and when it does, you'll find a new three-cylinder, 1.5-litre engine under the bonnet (slightly smaller than the 1.6-litre engine previously offered), but with a performance boost to 147kW and 290Nm, sending that grunt to the front tyres.

You'll pay $31,990 before on-road costs to park an ST in your driveway, a price rise somewhat justified by the extra doors, and the addition of a Quaife limited-slip differential, launch control and torque vectoring, all of which help it blitz the sprint to 100km/h in 6.7 seconds.

Mazda MX-5 2020

The MX-5 was last updated in September last year, with a punchier 2.0-litre engine ushered in, among other upgrades. The MX-5 was last updated in September last year, with a punchier 2.0-litre engine ushered in, among other upgrades.

Mazda's pint-sized thrill machine will be updated next year, though sadly, the details are a little thin on the ground for now. 

We do know that the brand is billing it as the  “the most advanced MX-5", but just what that means is yet to be revealed. It could be anything from a design tickle to a powertrain boost, but either way, you'll read about it here first. 

That said, expect it to offer plenty of driving thrills in a small and smile-inducing package.